A little interlude in the regular (finally returning) Suunto Ambit(3) manual videos / video manual, as Suunto has just updated the Movescount app (still only for iOS devices, but coming to Android next month – April 2015) to version 2.1.1. and the Ambit3 software to version 1.5.
Included with this update: a new workout planner in the app and a new workouts menu in the exercise options. (Voice guidance in the app had to be pushed back a little.)
So then, let’s have a look at how it works.
First, setting up a workout in the Movescount app:
Secondly, of course, putting the workout to actual use:
A few small updates will be a good idea (for Suunto to do), but the capabilities of this new workout planner are very nice. It just makes the Ambit3 line nicer again; the lack of this feature in the earlier lines and the lack of an Android version of the app (to date) more noticeable, however.
Play around with the different “target” (and zone) settings, I’d advise.
More than the time mode, which already offers quite a few functions (in the form of displays that can be turned on or off), sports mode offers various possibilities.
Going out walking and interested in nothing but a record of how long you walked?
Set up a “walking” mode that shows you the time of day and a stopwatch.
Running a mountain ultramarathon?
Set up a mode with 50 hour battery runtime (with “good” GPS recording, on an Ambit2), showing ascent/descent graphically, giving heart rate and pace and an estimate of your 100 mile finish time, given your current pace, and showing when the sun will set or rise again.
22: Introduction to Sports Mode Customization
23: Customizing Sports Modes
Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it, onto Movescount and to the customization page for a look at examples of how sports modes can be set up.
My main example(s), of course, are running-related: A general running mode with pace- and HR-focused displays, on the one hand; an “ultra” mode set up for ultramarathon running (with longer battery runtime thanks to a lower GPS setting, with the sunrise/sunset app, etc.) And there’s also a “marathon” mode…
… and I’m not even getting into indoors training or the HR check mode I’ve set up for easily doing nothing but seeing the HR. Let alone swimming modes.
24: MultiSport Mode
On most of the Ambit models, one sport doesn’t seem to be enough; you can also set up MultiSport modes combining various of your individual sports (modes) into one multisport mode.
That way, it is easy to transition from one sport to the next in the course of one “move,” as for example in a triathlon (which is actually a pre-set multisport mode on the Ambits/Movescount and the example I use here).
One theme mentioned but not explored: If you want to have a separate record of your transition time(s), you can also set up a “transition” mode and add it to the MultiSport mode here. (This is, indeed, how the “triathlon” multisport mode has come to be set up by now.)
You can “only” have 2 multisport modes and(/or) 10 single sport modes, however, so choose wisely. Then again, if you don’t mind looking into the menu a little bit, you can always combine the modes you have on your watch into a multisports move, manually (as shown in the video).
25: Customizing Sport Modes in the Movescount App
If you have an Ambit3 and a compatible device (still only newer iOS devices, but the Android app should be out next month [April 2015]), you can also customize sports modes (as long as you have internet) on the fly via the Movescount app…
I’m undecided. So, you tell me: Should I give some more detailed advice / suggestions on how to set up specific sports modes?
And, I guess I should give a look inside the Ambit app zone? Or not?
The fitter you are, the easier it is to explore and enjoy it, and you might want to use a training plan to guide yourself in a regular fitness regimen.
How can you best use training programs when you have an Ambit?
By planning your training ‘moves’, getting the Ambit to remind you of them and guide you, either in your pace or in your chosen heart rate zone…
16: Planned Moves and Training Programs
The Ambit is enough of an outdoors device to not offer the most complicated of training guidance, but one should know how to set up training programs or plan ‘moves’. Those give quite a bit more guidance than a sports mode by itself would…
17: Planning Moves for Pace/HR Guidance
Just a quick video here showing the set-up for planned moves (or moves in a training program, those work in the same way), with or without distance. This, as we’ll see in videos #20 and #21, showing the planned moves in practice, gives two different kinds of guidance.
18: Setting Up HR Zones for Planned Moves
If you’ve wanted to set up planned moves or training programs before, maybe you’ve wondered what the “intensity” is actually supposed to mean.
It’s all there in the HR zones under “Profile” -> “Body Metrics”: The zones there are the HR limits that will be used in planned moves (as long as you don’t set up a distance).
The next videos will show how it all works in practice…
(Sorry about the focusing / exposure problems. The black background of the Movescount website is hell for a camera…)
19: Putting Planned ‘Move’ into Practice
It’s a training day as per the planned moves (or training program), and this here is what the Ambit then shows as a reminder, and how to get started using that plan the right way.
You can also see how to calibrate the compass, which should be done before going out on a ‘move’ that will be recorded by GPS or (even more so) before using navigation.
The reminder for planned moves that is very necessary, to also put it in writing: Start a planned move by going into exercise mode (hitting “start/stop”) while in the training plan display (in time mode), NOT any other display (such as that of time and date, where you’d probably, usually, start a ‘move’)!
20: Planned ‘Move’ in Practice – Pace Guidance
The first of the two moves set up in video #17, for 4 km in 30 minutes, in practice.
Having planned for a distance makes the planned move give guidance on pace, and it means that the “50% complete” and “100% complete” displays will come at 2 and 4 km, respectively.
Pace guidance is by visual markers on the pace display, in real time, and by acoustic alarm, after 2 minutes outside of the proper range.
21: Planned ‘Move’ in Practice – HR Zone Guidance
Here’s the second of the two moves set up in video #17, the one for 30 minutes of running at a “moderate” intensity, used in practice.
Not having planned this ‘move’ to be for a certain distance, but rather for time and intensity, i.e. heart rate zone, guidance here is (only) for the heart rate to be in the selected zone.
(Unsure how/where to set up these heart rate zones? See video #18.)
The “50% complete” and “100% complete,” therefore, come at 15 minutes and 30 minutes, respectively.
Again, visual guidance (now on the HR display, of course) is instantaneous; acoustic alarms for having fallen outside of the selected zone, here too, only come after 2 minutes outside the proper range.
The Problem with Planned ‘Moves’
What the planned ‘moves’ of/or training programs do not give you are warm-up times.
You can simply add a cool-down, the ‘move’ continues recording after it is “100% complete,” after all, but the guidance starts just as soon as you start the planned ‘move’.
So, if you have to have a more-detailed plan, also and especially with intervals, then you need another approach: You will need to use Ambit apps. And if you also want heart rate zones, you will also want an app for that.
But, all of that is a different theme from the training plans and planned moves… Something for next time.
This time, starting with a little intro to the Ambit’s use as a GPS/navigation device.
6: Navigation by POI
The first way of using an Ambit(3) for navigation: using POIs.
Such Points of Interest can be set up
in the device saving the current location as POI
n the device using the “define location” function
on Movescount (“Add new POI” on the “Gear” page under “Navigation”)
7: Navigation with Route
POIs all well and good, but where the Ambit comes into its own is navigating along a route. So, let’s get one started…
8: Creating Routes
If you want to use routes for navigation, you will first have to get routes.
Two basic possibilities shown here:
Find routes already in the Movescount library and save them to your
routes (similarly to how you can save and publish tracks you recorded
as routes, by the way)
Create (draw) a route in the Route Planner on Movescount
9: Route/Map Problems and Workaround
Having talked about creating routes, it’s necessary to point out that there can be some issues because of the (Google) map quality.
In China, where these videos are made, especially. (There is an offset between the actual position and the one shown on maps.)
Other programs (such as Google Earth) and GPS tracks from other people to import into the Route Planner of Movescount provide one workaround. Quick tip if you ever find yourself in need of some tweaking of a GPS track from someone else (to change its format, simplify it, etc.): Use the features offered by gpsies.com
10: ‘Quick Navigation’
Navigation can also be used when going out exercising. Option 1 for that: To use a custom/sports mode with ‘quick navigation’.
11: Activating Navigation while in a Custom (Sports) Mode
‘Quick navigation’ has a ‘move’ start by choosing a route or POI to follow, but navigation can also be activated while a custom (sports) mode is already active…
12: The Map in the App
Not exactly navigation (as in, to a pre-defined point or along a route), but the Ambit3 line can help in navigating also through its interaction with the map display in the Movescount app
13: Using the Navigation Logbook
As long as you have a ‘move’ (that used GPS tracking) still stored on your Ambit (2 or 3), you also have its track in ‘Navigation’ – ‘Logbook’ and can activate that and use it just like a route.
14: Find Back & Track Back
Of course, just as you can use a track from the navigation logbook, you can first of all turn right around along the track you just were on during a move, and “find back” (to your starting point, POI-like) or “track back” (using the track as a route) immediately.
15: (Workaround) Route in Practice
Out at the Great Wall’s Jiankou section, trying out the route planned using the GPS tracks / Google Earth workaround (as set up in the Manual video number 9, above). And, it works!
If you want to check out the route as it looks on Movescount, I’ve now set it to public so it can be found here; the track recorded while I was (also) using this route is here, but this path out to Zhengbeilou is only a small part of that (the one where the circle connects in the upper right corner, the track goes out and then back…
I am copying in the relevant part below. Please note that the way out was the one using navigation, hence using constant (“best,” 1 sec) GPS fix. The path back again from the Great Wall’s Zhengbeilou tower (which is at the lower right of the image) was recorded only using “good” GPS setting, i.e. a lower fix, which is (mainly) why it looks so jagged (apart, when I was back on the road in the upper left, there was also some GPS error):
Xizhazi to Zhengbeilou track
There are also some issues to discuss, though: Setting up/starting the route to not get turned around; finding the exact path/turn when the zoom level is not high enough; (not) missing an ETA/ETE (to the next waypoint) function or altitude profiles for routes.
Next up: Training Programs/Planned Moves and Training Guidance
How well (I think) the Ambit3 is working is what I talked about in part 1 and part 2 of my review of that device.
Part 3, less of a review than the (missing) manual, has been taking its time, and it will be longer yet until I get finished with it, but I want to get started showing you how to get the most out of this connecting – and now, as Suunto has it, connected – tool.
So, here goes:
Basic Functions as an (Outdoors) Watch
1: Time Mode Displays
Note that these are similar all through the Ambit family, but with some differences between Ambit, Ambit2, Ambit2S and Ambit2R, as well as Ambit3 Peak and Ambit3 Sports.
2: Setting Up Time Mode Displays
Especially on the Ambit3 Peak, you are not stuck with having the time mode show exactly those displays/functions seen above. No, you can turn just about all of them on/off individually (except for the time display itself).
You cannot yet customize the single displays, though. (I’m just mentioning that because I have seen people ask about it.)
3: Notifications & User-Defined Shortcuts
The Ambit3 went a step towards being a smartwatch, at least in interacting with a smartphone app and showing the notifications from the smartphone. (Beep and display only, no vibration alarm – also often asked about.)
Set up what notifications you want to get on your smartphone (in general). Or just remember that this is a tool for the outdoors and training, not for any and all notifications ;)
4: Display of Planned Moves
Set up planned moves or training plans on the Movescount website, get training guidance on the Ambit (2 or 3). Here, just a note on what that display looks like, since it gets added to the time mode displays. (More details on how to plan ‘moves’ coming soon.)